Jill has been working for Step Together since February 2015. Alongside her day job, Jill also volunteers at a homeless night shelter. Jill will be trekking the Great Wall of China next week to raise money for Step Together and the Greater Manchester Homeless Night Shelters.
Can you remember your very first Step Together client?
I do, it was my very first day and I was supposed to be meeting this client alongside Sheri whose maternity leave I was going to be covering, but she started getting labour pains and I had to go alone. Sharon was an ex-offender with drug and alcohol issues living in a rough part of Manchester. Sharon has been volunteering at POPs (Partners of Prisoners) for over a year now and has been invited to apply for a paid role at the charity. I still drop in to see her when I am passing.
Who has been the most memorable client?
It has to be Lucy who blossomed during the time I was working with her. Lucy’s mother was an alcoholic and Lucy had been caring for her younger brother and sister before being taken into foster care. Lucy volunteered at three different placements and won an award for her volunteering. It was the most emotional evening when she received her award because I was so proud of her and what she had achieved - she had been a really shy and nervous young lady, and here she was singing in front of 100’s of people!
What do you feel has been your greatest achievement at Step Together?
It’s difficult to say, but I suppose it was my client Sue who was an alcoholic suffering with depression and anxiety. She rang me once in the middle of a suicide attempt and I had to keep her on the phone whilst I rang the ambulance. It took me a year to get her volunteering at Pensioners Link. She’s a different person now.
What makes you happy?
When clients volunteer and you see a change in them - clients are usually resistant at first, then nervous and scared, and then when they love it, well it’s brilliant to see!
What drives you mad?
People’s stereotypical view of ex-offenders. Not giving people a second chance makes me mad because I believe that even people who have done bad things can change.
If you would like to show your support for Jill’s trek, please visit her JustGiving page.